After my last blog post on running, I had a reader-miss lucillethebrave1- comment and ask, “How did you get to a point of being able to run for more than 3 minutes and work your way up?”
Well, that is a great question!
The simply answer is: I just kept running.
The more you run, the better you will get at running. In a way-that’s all there is.
But additionally I was fortunate to have a patient, dear, athletic friend the spring semester of my freshmen year in college, believe in me. Kristina was a star on our girl’s soccer team, and a beautiful, bubbily, brunet, Jesus-loving freshman as well. At some point while we were hanging out, I voiced how I wished that I could run-but alas, I couldn’t even run a mile. Kristina-in an excited, joyful spirit told me, “Of course you can!”.
“No Kristina, really. I can’t. I tried last semester, and didn’t last over 3 minutes.”
She was not shaken, “No, Betty, I am SURE you can do it! I could do it with you! I will literally run beside you the entire time, and together you will run a mile.”
And for some reason, I was up for the challenge. I put on the gear and met her outside just a few days later. She set some ground rules, the primary one being: do not stop running.
“I don’t care how slowly we run, Betty-we are running an entire mile”.
And so we did. Off we went and she coached me the entire 15-20 minute jog. She told me not to clench my fists, to lean into the hills, to open my stride on the way down the hills. And though by the end of the mile my lungs were on fire, I was short of breath, and I thought I might hurl-I ran a mile.
I could do it.
And so I kept doing it. I kept running, and it kept getting easier. I kept running and I kept getting faster. I kept running, and soreness decreased and my endurance increased. In fact, yesterday I ran the longest distance I’ve ever run before-18 miles. And I didn’t stop. And I didn’t clench my fists, and I leaned into the hills, and I opened up my stride on the way down the hills. Thanks very much to Kristina Clairmont who took the time to joyfully believe in me, and run the slowest mile of her life-but the first mile of my life.
So, lucillethebrave1-my suggestion to you is to run with a (patient and kind) runner friend if you have one. And if you don’t have that luxury-that’s okay too, just run. Run as long and as far as you can today, and then tomorrow-run longer and farther. You might not like it right away, but don’t give up! You’ll soon find joy in your runs-in the music, in the great outdoors, in the time to clear your mind and refresh your body.